NBA star Kobe Bryant has backed defending European champions Barcelona to beat Arsenal tonight and go on to become the first club on the continent to retain the Champions League.

Los Angeles Lakers star Bryant, who has just 14 more games to play before he bows out of the game, with his final appearance coming against Utah Jazz at the Staples Centre on April 13, was asked if Lionel Messi and Co can make history by winning this year’s final in Milan.

The 37-year-old Philadelphia-born basketballer replied: “I think they can do it. I think that the style of play that they have is such a difficult style to catch up to, it’s comparable to how we used to win Championships with the triangle offence.

“It’s very, very tough to stop them [Barcelona]. The ball movement and spacing is second to none. You see players thinking in unison where there doesn’t have to be a play called. There doesn’t have to be someone saying “you do this, you do that”.

“Everybody is just in sync. ‘You can read the line-up, you can see where the gaps are but they can fill some gaps as the teams knows how to adjust.

“When you have the flexibility for players to execute skills it becomes very difficult to stop so – barring injury – it will very tough to stop them.”

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